Just read that one of my all-time favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey, passed away over the weekend. That makes the last of my "Big 3" (Marion Zimmer Bradley, Andre Norton, and Anne McCaffrey) all gone to a wider place than this.
I can still remember exactly when and where I first picked up one of her books - the 7th grade library at Serrano Middle School. Lunchtime. We were only allowed to go two places during lunch: outside at the tables to eat or to the library. The outside tables were...not safe for me. I spent almost all of my junior high lunch breaks hiding...er...putting in extra reading time...in the library.
And there I picked up this weird-looking book with the gold dragon on the cover and entered the wonderful world of Pern for the first time. And really, once you've ridden dragon-back, you're hooked for life.